We Are Not Allies

TIME.com: A Farewell to Allies — Jan. 12, 2004
There are no permanent allies, only permanent interests. I’ll have to remember that one.

I’ve been saying for some time that France and Germany are not our allies and 2003 proved it. Oh, if our interests coincide again we’ll work together but we’re really just acquaintances and nothing more. Communism is gone as a reason for us be bound to one-another and their commercial interests clashed with our stated policy of regime change in Iraq — since 1998. We decided to act on it and France, Germany and Russia did everything they could to tie us down with the UN.

Even if you use the term “allies” loosely and France and Germany qualify, my response is that we need like-minded allies. That, they most certainly are not.

But this is not the beginning of a great reconciliation. These countries were no help before the war, during the war or after the war. France tried to rally the world to stop the U.S. from deposing Saddam. Russia was sending night-vision goggles to Saddam. Not one lifted a finger to help the postwar reconstruction.

Some Americans are bitter about this, others merely confused. Democrats think it’s our fault. They charge Bush with mishandling relations with the allies. Theirs is an etymological problem. Events have overtaken vocabulary. These countries are not allies. It is sheer laziness now that counts France and Germany as old allies, sheer naivete that counts Russia as a new one.

It should not surprise us. Countries have different interests. For a half-century, anticommunism papered over those differences, but communism is gone. Europe lives by Lord Palmerston’s axiom: nations have no permanent allies, only permanent interests. Alliance with America is no longer a permanent interest. The postwar alliance that once structured and indeed defined our world is dead. It died in 2003.

Via Mike who got it from Tim Blair.

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